Beverage Industry

Columbia Crest to develop crowdsourced wine

Washington winery asks consumers to join winemaking process

August 4, 2014

Paterson, Wash.-based Columbia Crest is turning to the Internet and consumers for its newest release. The Washington state winery will help the online community of wine lovers to create Crowdsourced Cabernet Sauvignon.

Throughout the next 18 months, the new interactive website crowdsourcedcabernet.comwill allow consumers to join the process of winemaking and determine how the grapes are tended, irrigated, harvested and blended through weekly votes. Participants will have access to weather analytics, season-by-season data, past data, and time-lapse camera shots down to the individual grape. Additionally, Columbia Crest head winemaker Juan Muñoz Oca will offer expert advice and answer questions from the community to assist with the winemaking process every step of the way.

“We know our wine supporters are a knowledgeable and discerning bunch, so we thought we’d issue them a challenge,” Muñoz Oca said in a statement. “For the first time, everything from fruit-thinning, to the harvest, to the final blend, and even the label will be in the hands of our fans; it’s a trailblazing adventure. The Crowdsourced Cabernet process will invite wine lovers to gain a deeper understanding and connection to the craft and skill of winemaking. Our fans will make the calls like when to fruit-thin, when to water, when to hedge, and even when to harvest. We will ferment it, barrel it, bottle it and baby it until it’s ready to drink.”

Columbia Crest has set aside an acre of reserve grapes in its estate vineyard for the project, it says. At the end of the process, approximately 1,000 cases of the Crowdsourced Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 vintage will be available for purchase in the United States, online and in the Columbia Crest tasting room in Paterson, Wash. It also will be sent to leading wine publications to be rated alongside other premium wines.

“Columbia Crest already has an international reputation for producing highly acclaimed wines, but now we are challenging wine lovers everywhere to make their own wine that reflects the spirit of Columbia Crest,” said Martin Johnson, senior vice president of marketing for Columbia Crest, in a statement. “Never before has the art and skill of winemaking been introduced to the digital world of crowdsourcing to this extent, and we are excited to see what our loyal fans create.”

Columbia Crest will support the project with an entirely new advertising and social media campaign. To learn more about Crowdsourced Cabernet Sauvignon wine, visit www.crowdsourcedcabernet.com.